I published a blog on how one small business runs its planning process last week. 

One reader asked me if I could share Intel’s planning process. Certainly! In addition to building world-class processors, Intel does many things well. One of them is Intel’s annual planning process. Intel’s annual planning process is called “Plan [year].”

The planning process for 2014 is called Plan 2014, for 2015 is called Plan 2015 etc. It’s a formal process, which is global in nature.

It’s both top-down and bottom-up approach. Each division within a group will create its own plans. Divisional plans will roll up as part of the group plan. Each geography will also roll up its plan to the headquarters. During the planning process, a lot of face-to-face meetings will occur within divisions and groups to ensure two-way discussions. Finance members in each department will also roll up each group’s proposed budget requests as part of the plan.

The process usually kicks off in September and lasts until the end of the year. Depending on the market situation, sometimes the plan may go on into January.

Ultimately, each group will present its plan to the CEO in November. The CEO will review and finalize the corporate-wide plan, after which the company’s business directions, sales goals for each group and budget will be distributed in the December timeframe. Given that Intel is a 100,000-person company, Plan 2014 strategic imperatives and goals will be communicated through multiple forums worldwide throughout the first quarter of the year. This planning period may seem chaotic and fluid, yet everyone seems to know what needs to be done and how to do it partially because the timeline is clearly communicated to the employees who are responsible for the plans. Intel has been disciplined to do the corporate-wide planning year after year.

Here is where the Corporate Marketing Group takes the lead and the regions and countries draft.

In order to pave the way for regional and country marketing teams to start their Plan 2014, the headquarter’s marketing needs to work with product groups and marketing research to understand the product roadmap, industry and product competitive landscape, volume forecast and audience profiles four to six weeks prior to September. A master marketing plan for consumers and businesses are created so that regional and country marketing teams can use it to create their detailed plans. The business marketing master marketing plan is also a high-level global content plan. Specific elements of a global content plan such as audience needs and pain points, annual and quarterly editorial topics and high-level deliverable timelines are incorporated into this master marketing plan.

Geographies use this master plan as a baseline to ensure their own regional and country plans are aligned on strategy. If geographies need to deviate from the marketing strategy, the Headquarters and geographies have a very open and honest discussion to determine the right solution to move forward. Communication, collaboration, and compromise are keys for the global planning process. Disclaimer: This article has been approved by Intel PR.

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